Life Systems: Coping with Life & Building Your Business
There is always plenty of talk about business systems and automation to make your business streamlined. But what about life systems?
Often as business owners we focus on growing and improving our businesses by only focusing on the business. But what if we focused on improving our life instead?
Years ago someone said to me that your business is a reflection of the owner. I’m sure this is true for businesses up to a certain size and I know it’s true for my business. When I’m feeling well and happy all areas of my life are improved – especially by business.
I know when I focus on improving our life systems, it frees up so much mental energy, which allows me to improve the business.
As with many of the things I write about I’m by no means perfect – in fact, the opposite, but here are some of my life systems;
I’ve been focusing on moving more and getting to the gym at least a few times a week. I know it makes me feel so much better, gives me an energy boost to get through the day and allows me to relax and it improves my sleep.
My recent birthday present was an Apple Watch which I wanted to allow me to just have my watch and AirPods to work out. It’s got an Activity tracking app that helps me focus daily on reaching my movement, exercise and stand goals.
Towards the end of the day it will remind me if I need to move more to reach my goals. Last night at 4:30pm we were planning on ordering Pizza for dinner and my iWatch notified me that “A brisk 15 minute walk will get me to my goals”. So I quickly grabbed the family including Jack (our dog) for a walk around the block. Reaching my goals before enjoying too much pizza and red wine!
Recently when I was leaving the gym at 5am, the car park was not only full, but it was full of luxury cars – Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and even a beautiful Maserati. I’m sure there were regular cars as well but I didn’t see them. My first thought was… your health is so important on your journey to wealth. Yes I know this is a generalisation and the people who own these cars might not be wealthy but they are working on their health and can at least afford the weekly repayments.
Plus, who cares if it’s not 100% true. If it gets me to the gym, I’ll take the extra motivation any day of the week.
How are you incorporating exercise or movement into your daily life?
Food Shopping & Meal Prep
Before Max was born and we had all the time in the world, we were running to the supermarket too many times during the week – I think at some stages it was daily and we were spending a fortune on food.
I now sit down weekly and create a list of lunches and dinners based on our schedule and what we want to eat.
- A long day of meetings – easy dinner
- Lunch meeting – no meal required
- Dinner at mums – winning
- Family dinner at our house – a meal for nine including two vegetarians
I would then ‘shop’ the pantry and fridge first, and create a list of the extra’s we needed. This keeps our food healthy (mostly), on budget and removes the brain power required each night to determine what’s for dinner – it’s already planned.
I then spend a few hours on Sunday preparing what I can. At a minimum it’s a week of lunches for Dean and I, or if I’ve got the time I prep some of dinner.
I have a standard rotation of meals that the family will eat and all meals are ready in 30 minutes or less. I use the Thermomix as much as possible and Dean cooks at least one meal per week. While I’m cooking he is bathing Max – we have a fairly good nightly routine.
Each week I was heading to the supermarket to do the shopping, however this week I’ve started online shopping again. It took me 15 minutes to add everything to the online cart and I collected on the way home. It was a Thursday which means the weekend was free for fun and family time.
I’m going to keep doing this and see if it works better for our family.
I would love to hear about what your family does for meals and shopping. At this stage Max isn’t at school – only day care so I know with after school activities this will likely need some adjustments.
Cleaning our house is a life system we are yet to excel in. Before we moved we did a massive declutter – but based on the state of our house – the decluttering was not big enough.
I’m in the process of doing another one and once complete I will be getting another cleaner.
For me a cleaner was better than therapy and something I recommend for everyone. It takes the pressure of the working adults and makes for a happier home environment and allows you to be available more for your business, family and a chance to actually relax.
Who wants to spend all their free time cleaning the house! Not me.
In her recent Medium article, Denise Duffield-Thomas, shares her experience and the breakdown of the help she has around the house. It’s a serious life goal for me to have a daily housekeeper but as she said we need to start small and for me that’s getting our regular cleaner back. Denise so rightly shares “Cleaning my own toilet didn’t make me a millionaire. Working on my business did.” So lose the guilt and hire one.
At a recent playdate and one of the mum’s mentioned that she has a cleaner but was very sheepish about it. I could see by the look on her face that she felt guilty about admitting it. Quickly I reassured her that she shouldn’t feel guilty and that everyone should have a cleaner.
What I love about Denise’s article is that her intention and goals where to normalise working women having help around the home. No one ever asks a male CEO how they manage everything but it’s a constant conversation point for working women.
Do you have a cleaner? If not, why not? Now is the time!
20 Minute Rule
Each night after we put Max to bed, the goal is for both of us to spend 20 minutes doing something around the house.
This could be cleaning the kitchen after dinner, folding the washing, getting clothes ready for the next day or anything that is going to relieve the pressure.
With both of us doing 20 minutes a night – that’s almost 3 hours of extra “stuff” done around the house and it means the weekends are easier.
Again, we aren’t perfect at this. In fact we are pretty terrible, but when it works, it’s awesome. We need to gently remind each other of what needs to be done and the key is to start before you sit down again.
Once your bum hits the couch it’s a thousand times harder to get started. Once the task is started, even if it’s a 30-minute job, you have the motivation to complete it.
For me this only works if we are both doing something, otherwise, I feel resentful.
Do you think this could work in your house?
Regular Daily Check-In
I’ve only just started this and I can already feel the difference. More often than I care to admit, I lose my temper. My Sicilian heritage comes out and I yell and scream – mostly at my family.
Let me assure you it’s not fun for anyone. I’ve been working on myself for a long time. With the focus on reducing feelings of overwhelm so outburst don’t occur.
My life systems as described in this article are part of reducing overwhelm and stabilizing my mood. Another coping system as suggested to me by a psychologist is to check in with myself regularly.
I was setting a reminder a few times a day to take a minute out, regroup and breath. I liken this to when the medicinal profession put you on pain management. You are required to take Panadol every 4 – 6 hours to keep your pain levels in check. The same is true for me and breathing. About 10 times a day, using the breath app on the iWatch, I’m reminded to take a minute to breathe. Do I do them all? No. But I’m aiming to do more than I did yesterday.
How are you looking after your mental health?
I would love to hear from you about any life systems you have in place. Here are some tips from women I follow online who have worked on improving their life with life systems;
Jump over to Facebook and join the conversation. Let me know what’s working for you.
Kylie Camps speaks about doings a few things the night before to make mornings easier – such as taking the coffee cup out and packing school bags.
Rachel Hollis talks about getting up an hour early for yourself. If you have a dream, you have 5 hours a week to work on it.
Dr Libby shares how Diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing) is one of the only ways to reduce the fight or flight response in the body.